Former President Jacob Zuma’s appearance before the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday is expected to be brief. The National Prosecuting Authority is likely to request an adjournment to allow it time to respond to both Zuma and his co-accused Thales’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution.
The former President and Thales want charges against them squashed – citing a delay in prosecution that has dragged on for 14 years.
In his affidavit, Zuma says he faced public and media prosecution that he says was engineered by the NPA.
Zuma is facing multiple charges including fraud, corruption, racketeering and money laundering. These relate to the more than 780 questionable payments to Zuma by his former financial advisor Schabir Shaik that the state alleges were bribes solicited to influence the multi-billion rand arms procurement.
Having introduced a new legal team at his last appearance, Zuma’s defence, now led by Advocate Mike Hellens has filed their application for a permanent stay of prosecution.
In his application for charges against him to be dropped, Zuma says the circumstances of his prosecution reveal political manipulation, interference, undue delay and prosecutorial bias. The former President concludes his affidavit by stating that the delays in his trial have been extremely long.
Thales’s representative Christine Guerrier in her affidavit, has cited unreasonable delays in their prosecution. The company says it has been 14 years since they were originally charged.
Thales further says the decision by the NPA to reinstate charges was in respect of Zuma and not the company. This was after the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2017, that set aside the decision to withdraw charges against Zuma.
Meanwhile, outside court, Zuma supporters are expected to once again gather. A night vigil is expected to take place on Thursday evening.